How to Begin a Yoga Practice
You don’t have to be an advanced yoga practitioner to learn how to begin a yoga practice at home. This basic routine combines a four-part sequence and a few basic poses to give you an all-over stretch that’s quick, easy, and effective.
Sun salutation is a popular yoga sequence because it stretches the entire body, but it can be intimidating for beginners. This ocean salutation is a simpler version that uses a wave-like motion and combines Cat-cow, Up-dog, and Child’s Pose.
1. Begin in modified Child’s Pose, with legs folded on your mat and arms reaching out in front of you. Think of this pose as home base for this yoga sequence.
2. Inhale and use your breath to curve your spine up like a Halloween cat.
3. Exhale and move your hands a little farther away from your body, as you slowly lower your hips to your mat and come into up-dog.
4. Inhale to the full pose, curving your face and chest up.
5. Exhale and push back to the original modified Child’s Pose.
6. If your knees hurt, roll the mat slightly under your knees for a little extra padding.
7. Move through the cycle a few times.
8. When you feel comfortable, repeat the cycle twice more with your eyes closed.
9. When you’ve finished, rest for a few breaths in Child’s Pose.
Now use the warmth in your body for a few basic stretches, starting with Forward Fold.
1. Sit on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you.
2. Inhale to lengthen your spine.
3. Exhale as you reach your chest toward your toes.
4. Breathe fully and pull your shoulders back away from your ears. Keep your spine straight and tall.
5. If you’re ready for a more advanced stretch, let your chest melt into your legs and interlace your fingers around your feet.
6. Once you reach a location where you feel challenged but not uncomfortable, hold for three breaths.
7. Inhale to sit up with a long, straight spine.
After Forward Fold, Plank and Table make good counter-stretches. Start with a reversed plank.
1. From a sitting position, lay your palms on the mat behind your back, with fingers wide and pointing toward the hips.
2. Open your shoulders and peel your shoulder blades back.
3. Open your throat and point your toes, finding energy in your legs.
4. Press your hands and feet into the floor to rise to an inclined plane.
5. If the Reverse Plank is too intense, walk your feet under your knees to come into table pose.
6. Inhale and press the ground away with your hands and feet.
7. For an advanced option, lift one leg off the ground. Explore movement such as lifts or circles.
8. Let your table lean by bending your knees forward and lowering the sacrum (bone above the tailbone) toward your heels.
9. Lower down to your forearms, open your chest and tilt your head back.
10. Exhale and slowly let your back release down to the mat.
From there, move into Bridge Pose.
1. Press your feet into the floor and inhale to rise.
2. Pulse to add dynamic motion, if desired.
3. Come into the full expression of the pose, or a supported version if that’s more comfortable.
4. Stay for three breaths.
5. Slowly lower yourself with a count of ten. Your core should be engaged and working to bring you back down to the mat.
6. Shift your knees from side to side for a gentle spinal twist.
7. Take your gaze in the opposite direction of your knees.
8. Roll back onto your back. Lower your legs and rest in Savasana for at least two or three minutes.
9. Feel your breath reach all the corners of your body.
Start your day with a yoga warm-up to feel stretched and energized. A few basic poses and one simple sequence are all you need to start your yoga journey at home.